Arc’teryx Kappa SV Hoody
Like its partner the Kappa AR Pant, the Kappa SV Hoody completely seals out wind with its Windstopper shell and seals in body heat with Primaloft insulation. One tester who wore the Hoody on an Alaska trek in icy 40-mile per-hour gusts said she “could not feel the wind at all” and stayed warm while her hiking partners shivered. The insulated, helmet compatible hood with a tall chin guard that protects the neck and face is key to this jacket’s exceptional warmth in blustery conditions. A hem drawcord, interior front storm flap and snug knit wrist cuffs boost the jacket’s insulating power. A DWR treatment on the Windstopper fabric kept testers dry in light snow and rain. The Kappa SV is not waterproof but it layers easily under a rain shell. Although it is not cheap, we found this quality jacket, with its high warmth to weight ratio, worth every penny in extreme cold conditions.
$450; men’s S-XXL, women’s XS-XL; 30 oz. (m’s M). (800) 985-6681; arcteryx.com.
“This is a great mid layer in cold conditions and also a stellar stand alone jacket in warmer weather,” said one tester of the versatile Torrid. Made from Polartec Power Stretch, the Torrid was “extremely breathable” as a mid-layer according to testers who used the jacket on everything from climbing to backpacking to biking trips. The fabric’s four way stretch also allowed plenty of unrestricted arm movement when reaching for hand holds. Thanks to a full front zip, hand warmer pockets and adjustable wrist cuffs, the Torrid also served as an outer layer on a spring backpacking trip in Utah’s Escalante Canyon when temperatures ranged from 60 to 40 degrees F. The smooth outer surface on the hardface fleece makes it easy to layer and sheds light drizzle, while the brushed underside is super soft against the skin and insulates.
$140; men’s S-XXL; 12 oz. (m’s M). (888) 357-3262; marmot.com.